Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, October 29, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos New NAEP Baloney Sandwich

CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos New NAEP Baloney Sandwich
DeVos New NAEP Baloney Sandwich

Betsy DeVos would like you to know--again, some more--that public schools are failing. 

Her exhibit this time is the newly-released NAEP results for 12th graders in 2019. And as usual at NAEP time, her brief exhortation is riddled with baloney. 

America is the greatest country on the face of the earth, and we should deliver our rising generation the greatest educational opportunities possible. Sadly, today’s results confirm America’s schools continue to fall far short, and continue to fail too many kids, especially the most disadvantaged.

Wave that flag. But recognize that the NAEP 12th grade scores did not break out students by low-income levels, so DeVos has no idea which students, exactly, are holding the fuzzy end of the test score lollipop. Also, let's not lose sight of the fact that the NAEP is administered to public and private schools, so the same schools that she wants a voucher-paved path to for students--those beloved private schools are in this mix, too.

It’s particularly troubling to see the results for our lowest performing and most disadvantaged students getting worse. Education funding flows most heavily to these students’ schools, but these data make clear money to schools alone will not fix the problem. It’s a problem of approach CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos New NAEP Baloney Sandwich

Tonight: How can we bridge the digital and health divide for students of color during the pandemic? | Cloaking Inequity

Tonight: How can we bridge the digital and health divide for students of color during the pandemic? | Cloaking Inequity

Expert panelists from the National Medical Association and the NAACP will share their ideas in a free webinar taking place Thursday, Oct. 29.

The discussion will be moderated by the University of Kentucky College of Education’s Dr. Gregory Vincent, executive director of the college’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP. The initiative is based in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, where Vincent is a professor.

Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and engage in this discussion.

Coronavirus Impact on Students and Education Systems
6:30 to 8 p.m. (ET) Thursday, Oct. 29

> Register in advance at

Featured speakers:
Dr. Greg Vincent: UK Education and Civil Rights Initiative Executive Director
Leon W. Russell: NAACP Chairman of the Board
Yumeka Rushing: NAACP Chief Strategy Officer
Adora Obi Nweze: NAACP Education Committee Chair
Dr. Cedric M. Bright: Physician, National Medical Association

Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.

Check out and follow my YouTube channel here.

Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

Click here for Vitae.

COVID19 Rips Through Michigan K-12 Schools - PopularResistance.Org

COVID19 Rips Through Michigan K-12 Schools - PopularResistance.Org

The spread of COVID-19 through Michigan’s K-12 schools is rapidly accelerating, with the number of new outbreaks rising for the third week in a row, according to data released by the state yesterday. Last week, there were 29 separate outbreaks affecting 107 students, teachers and school workers, making it the most infectious week in Michigan since the school year began.

The 29 new outbreaks last week are in addition to 70 other “ongoing” outbreaks, defined as outbreaks that have been reported more than a week ago, but which have at least one new associated case in the last 28 days. Altogether, the 99 total ongoing outbreaks have led to 482 reported cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff. Family members and other community members not employed by schools are not counted.

It must also be pointed out that Michigan defines an “outbreak” at school as “two (2) or more COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school CONTINUE READING: COVID19 Rips Through Michigan K-12 Schools - PopularResistance.Org

Minnesota teachers at 'breaking point' over pandemic stress -

Minnesota teachers at 'breaking point' over pandemic stress -
Minnesota teachers juggling online, in-person classes fight stress in pandemic

Erika Jagiella wakes up at night fretting about lesson plans she needs to create and deliver to kids in person and in a socially distanced way. Then, she remembers: There's online coursework to craft, too.

The crush of daily workload demands has been so great that Jagiella, a special education teacher for the White Bear Lake Area Schools, only recently finished rewriting the individual education plans required for her students. "My brain just can't slow down," she said. "I'm constantly thinking about my students, my work and the work ahead of me."

Teachers across Minnesota are frazzled trying to navigate pandemic-related combinations of in-person and online instruction — so much so that nearly one-third responding to a recent statewide survey said they were thinking of quitting. Many work extra hours on nights and weekends as they juggle students in multiple formats, forcing union leaders to press for relief from school and district administrators.

The hybrid model of learning is designed to give students and teachers at least a couple of days of face-to-face time each week and to give students access to in-person supports around mental health and other concerns. Still, there is the distance learning component to contend with, too, and in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, for example, that has pushed elementary teachers to the "breaking point," according to a petition signed by more than 1,350 people.

Teachers presented the petition to school board members on Sept. 28, imploring district leaders to let them focus on one set of students at a time. Looking in via Zoom were 183 district teachers.

Jim Skelly, a district spokesman, said last week that the state's largest district now is providing recorded video lessons in math and reading for CONTINUE READING: Minnesota teachers at 'breaking point' over pandemic stress -

‘Twas the Week Before the Election | Teacher in a strange land

‘Twas the Week Before the Election | Teacher in a strange land
‘Twas the Week Before the Election

People sometimes ask me if I struggle to find things to write about. The answer is no. Essentially, never. But this week, I have three unfinished blogs about education sitting on my desktop. Blogger block.

I’ve been blogging pretty much since blogging become a thing—and started getting paid for doing it in the early aughts, which made it feel more like reality and responsibility and less like some cool edu-techie thing, where—look!—you’re on the World Wide Web!

Before 2000, I wrote an occasional column for the local daily newspaper—perhaps once every couple of months. I got this gig because I was Michigan’s Teacher of the Year in 1993, and I also was friends with the paper’s Editor. I was highly circumspect in my opinions and wrote about ordinary classroom issues, but my getting published in the newspaper made administrators at my school exceptionally nervous. To the point where I was finally directed to cease and desist with the op-eds. I complied.

I didn’t have a regular writing gig in 2000 (which is probably good; we were directed not to ‘dwell on’ the craziness going on in Florida, post-election, with our students). By the time I had a blog for a national education nonprofit, we were past 9/11 and into the 2004 campaign. Because I was writing for organizations (and being paid by those organizations) and because I was in the classroom for most of the next 15 years or so, my election-time blogs in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 were also…circumspect.

I went back to look at some of those pieces.

I was surprised to see how heartbroken I was in 2004. I was hardly a huge Kerry CONTINUE READING: ‘Twas the Week Before the Election | Teacher in a strange land

Imposter: Whitewashing “By Any Means Necessary” – radical eyes for equity

Imposter: Whitewashing “By Any Means Necessary” – radical eyes for equity
Imposter: Whitewashing “By Any Means Necessary”

Every white person in this country—and I do not care what he or she says—knows one thing. They may not know, as they put it, “what I want,” but they know they would not like to be black here. If they know that, then they know everything they need to know, and whatever else they say is a lie.

James Baldwin, On Language, Race and the Black Writer (Los Angeles Times, 1979)

I have these very deep feelings that white people who want to join black organizations are really just taking the escapist way to salve their consciences. By visibly hovering near us, they are “proving” they are “with us.”

Malcolm X, “What Can a Sincere White Person Do?”

I grew up among oafish racists in my white family and community. This was upstate South Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s.

As a teenager, I stood in the pro shop of the golf course where I worked while one of the grounds crew carefully explained to me that once Cain was banished from the Garden of Eden, he mated with apes and that’s how we have Black people.

This horrific moment aside, one of the most stark lessons I learned living among people with grossly simplistic views of race was that any person’s relationship with race is incredibly complicated.

Each summer as a teenager, I moved from working in the pro shop to working as an attendant and then a lifeguard at the country club’s pool. There, white Southern women arrived daily, many with unnaturally bleached-blond hair piled high, and rubbed themselves down with baby oil to sun bath from midmorning until mid-afternoon.

These women were as blatantly racist as their husbands routinely were on the golf course—a white person’s sanctuary that explicitly banned Black people CONTINUE READING: Imposter: Whitewashing “By Any Means Necessary” – radical eyes for equity

NAEP 12th Grade Scores: Unchanged Since 2005 | Diane Ravitch's blog

NAEP 12th Grade Scores: Unchanged Since 2005 | Diane Ravitch's blog
NAEP 12th Grade Scores: Unchanged Since 2005

Those of you who have followed this blog for many years know that I don’t put much stock in twelfth grade NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores. Having served for seven years on the NAEP governing board (the National Assessment Governing Board), I know that twelfth graders are a perennial problem. Unlike students in fourth and eighth grades, the seniors know the test doesn’t count. They are not motivated.

Bearing that in mind, it is nonetheless surprising that the recently released NAEP 12th grade reading and math scores have barely budged since 2005.

Even if kids aren’t trying hard, their scores should have gone up if they were actually better educated.

I argued in Slaying Goliath that NAEP scores for fourth and eighth grade have been flat for the past decade. And these kids are doing their best.

NAEP scores show the abject failure of “education reform” inflicted on students and educators since passage of No Child Left Behind. NCLB, Race to the Top, VAM, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, Common Core: a massive failure.

It’s time to throw out the status quo. It’s time for a new CONTINUE READING: NAEP 12th Grade Scores: Unchanged Since 2005 | Diane Ravitch's blog

100th Episode: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door – Have You Heard

100th Episode: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door – Have You Heard
100th Episode: A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

Our long-awaited book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, is finally (almost) out. To celebrate its publication, and the 100th episode of Have You Heard, we asked an expert—a former lobbyist for a conservative free-market think tank—to read the book and tell us what we got right & wrong. His main takeaway: our predictions about the future aren’t bleak enough.

Complete transcript of the episode is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.

Want a free, signed copy of Jack and Jennifer’s forthcoming book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse DoorSign up to host a virtual book group with 10 or more of your friends and colleagues and we’ll send you one!

A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door Website -

“There’s no more time for tinkering around the edges.” — Betsy DeVos, 2018 “Rethink School” tour.


If America’s public schools don’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic, it won’t just be due to the virus. Opponents of public education have long sought to dismantle our system of free, universal, and taxpayer-funded schooling. But the present crisis has provided them with their best opportunity ever to realize that aim. Books like Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains sounded a clear warning about the influence that right-wing plutocrats increasingly exert over American politics. Now, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door takes their analyses a step further, addressing an urgent question: Why is the right so fixated on dismantling public education in the United States? 

Education historian Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire trace the war on public education to its origins, offering the deep backstory necessary to understand the threat presently posed to America’s schools. The book also looks forward to imagine how current policy efforts will reshape the educational landscape and remake America’s future. A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door offers readers a lively, accessible, yet scholarly view of a decades-long conservative cause: unmaking the system that serves over 90% of students in the U.S. With Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and COVID-19 posing unprecedented threats to our already besieged public schools, the book could not be more timely.

NYC Educator: Voting Is Worth the Wait

NYC Educator: Voting Is Worth the Wait
Voting Is Worth the Wait

Voting this year wasn't what it usually is for me. Most years I wake up really early, show up at my polling place around 6 AM, and I'm the very first person there. Last year we had this law that gave us up to four hours off to vote. I needed to organize our staff around it, so of course I took the four hours. This year is something entirely different. 

I'm sure I'm not alone here. This is the first time we've had early voting in NY State, and it's pretty exciting. Everyone wants to vote ASAP. On Saturday, I went to the Freeport Recreational Center, got frightened at the line, and turned right around for home. 

I mean, there was always the possibility of just waiting until Election Day and going in really early. This notwithstanding, it seemed worth checking on Sunday as well. Sunday was way worse than Saturday, so I suppose I was not the only one who had that idea. But Monday? Monday would surely be better. After all, a whole lot of people needed to report for work. I was working from home, so as soon as my last class finished, I'd drive to the rec and vote. Monday, though, looked like Saturday, and the line wasn't moving at all. 

I'd heard from friends that nearby sites were a little better, so I drove five minutes to the North Merrick

Library. The line was just as long as the one in Freeport, but it seemed to be moving faster. I got on line and decided to take my chances. Just across the street was this house. There's the Trump flag, the Trump sign, and smaller signs urging us to vote for every GOP 'candidate on the line. The thing that upset me most is the fact that the GOP congressional candidate here, whatever his name is, has signs all over the place. Our Congresswoman, Kathleen Rice, seems to have signs precisely nowhere. Now Rice is not my favorite politician, having compared AOC to Trump. Still, I don't want her to lose. It's funny how low your standards get when a demagogue like CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: Voting Is Worth the Wait

Education Research Report: Education Equity in Michigan

Education Research Report: Education Equity in Michigan
Education Equity in Michigan

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has released a 62-page report describing inequities in Michigan’s K-12 education system and detailing specific recommendations for action that policy makers and educators can implement to make achieving educational equity a priority in all Michigan schools.

The report is the culmination of a series of public hearings and a year-long examination of disparities in K-12 education in Michigan. From May 2018 through the end of March 2019, the Commission held five public hearings around the state and heard from dozens of subject matter experts, school administrators, teachers, parents and students on the ways Michigan is falling short in its obligation to effectively educate all its children.

“This Commission believes that an adequate education is the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunities and also is a basic civil right,” said Stacie Clayton, Chair of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. “We learned during our education hearings that not all children receive the kind of education they deserve as their birthright. We urge policy makers, educators and other stakeholders across the state to view this report as a roadmap they can follow to help schools achieve educational equity and give all Michigan children – regardless of household income, race, residency or ability -- the education they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.”

The Commission became increasingly concerned about educational disparities in 2016 during their examination of the racial implications in the causes of, and response to, the Flint water crisis. What they learned during these hearings led directly to their decision in 2018 to launch an exploration of inequity in Michigan’s education system.

Through the hearing process, Commissioners became increasingly aware that the effectiveness of public school systems is directly determined by the racial and economic makeup of the community. They also found that instead of a cohesive, statewide education system, Michigan is made up of independent systems that operate differently and are resourced in a variety of ways, leading to disparities between high-performing districts and those considered “failing.”

Specific obstacles identified to equity in education include:

  • Lack of access to early childhood education
  • Varying degrees of parental involvement
  • Funding based on declining enrollment that leaves schools grossly underfunded
  • Food insecurity
  • Lack of specialized instruction, after school and summer school programs
  • Lack of qualified, experienced minority teachers

To achieve equity, the report says public school systems must recognize differences and distribute resources based on an understanding of how differences impact equitable access. They must also implement strategies to break down biases and barriers to equity, including:

  • Educating on implicit biases
  • Developing racially conscious strategies for school integration
  • Changing per-student funding and Proposal A
  • Eliminating competition between schools
  • Increasing teacher pay
  • Eliminating legacy debt
  • Increasing special education opportunities and funding

The report concludes with a list of recommendations for action, starting with the expansion of the Council for Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion, an MDCR-led initiative, to include representatives of the Michigan Department of Education, and establish the Council as the entity responsible for implementing and overseeing the following additional recommendations:

  • Develop a Statewide Educational Equity Plan to enhance policies and accountability.
  • Ensure that all data collected by government entities be disaggregated by race and ethnicity.
  • Encourage schools to create local equity plans and contribute information and resources to support equitable practices.
  • Provide year-round cultural competency/race and equity education and coaching.
  • Increase internet access for students and families.
  • Support a quality teacher training program, encouraging diversity in teaching roles and student enrollment.
  • Encourage the placement of affordable public housing only in school districts that are educationally successful and can support new students who have additional needs.
  • Recognize the overlapping roles that housing discrimination, employment discrimination, environmental racism and other racial disparities play in perpetuating educational inequity.
  • Create a multicultural, student-led component of the Council for Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion to engage students and parents/guardians on the local level.

Education Research Report: Education Equity in Michigan

Celebrating in the Face of COVID, Hurricanes, and DeVos | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

Celebrating in the Face of COVID, Hurricanes, and DeVos | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog
Celebrating in the Face of COVID, Hurricanes, and DeVos

I am sitting in my living room waiting for Hurricane Zeta to pass over my southeastern Louisiana home in a few hours. It’s our fifth hurricane to hit the region this season and the seventh time southern Louisiana has fallen within the cone of hurricane threat.

This year has been a regular diet of COVID and hurricanes overshadowing my teaching experience, even as Betsy DeVos continues to publicly express her disdain for America’s systems of public schools.

Well, Betsy, my public school is a good school, and I am a good public school teacher.

In the last several weeks, seven new students have enrolled in my Eng IV classes. Six arrived from other schools. That would not happen in a private school. There is no obligation to enroll whoever shows up on the private school doorstep. But we enroll students as they arrive, and each one enters my classroom with a circumstance that I must figure out how to navigate so that the student can become part of my class as successfully and seamlessly as is possible.

It is quite a challenge, but we do not turn students away. We. Do. Not. Turn. Students. Away. That is profound, and the likes of Betsy DeVos, steeped in her ideological bias, completely misses it. 

Then there are the numerous specialized situations in which students and their families find themselves, circumstances that necessitate individualized, often instantaneous and creative, CONTINUE READING: Celebrating in the Face of COVID, Hurricanes, and DeVos | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog



“Never trust someone that claims they care nothing of what society thinks of them. Instead of conquering obstacles, they simply pretend they don’t exist.”
― Tiffany Madison

All hail Overton High School’s favorite son Mookie Betts. Last night he led the Los Angelos Dodgers to their first World Championship in 32 years. Betts didn’t bat exceptionally well or win the series MVP award, but when needed, he responded with defense and speed on the base path. His home run in last night’s game was a thing of beauty that put the game on ice.

MNPS’s should be proud to be represented by Overton’s graduate. Throughout his career, Betts has not only exhibited incredible athletic prowess but has also been a great sportsman and a humble servant – never failing to assist those less fortunate than himself. Last night’s victory demonstrates that nice-guys do truly finish first.


Last Friday, the Metro Nashville Public School’s governing board held an emergency work session in order to review the district’s return to in-person learning. At the time, elementary schools had been in session since Fall Break, and middle schools were poised to reopen this week for those families who had chosen to resume in-person instruction.

The board could not as a body dictate a course of action to the director, but the work session provided an opportunity to get some much-needed clarifications and for board members to offer their personal recommendations. Based on the conversation, it was clear that all but one board CONTINUE READING: NOT YOUR CANARY IN A COAL MINE – Dad Gone Wild

CM Treyger urges the DOE to report class sizes on Nov. 15 as legally required, disaggregated this year according to the type of class | Class Size Matters

CM Treyger urges the DOE to report class sizes on Nov. 15 as legally required, disaggregated this year according to the type of class | Class Size Matters 
CM Treyger urges the DOE to report class sizes on Nov. 15 as legally required, disaggregated this year according to the type of class

Last week, Council Education Chair Mark Treyger wrote a letter to Chancellor Carranza urging him to report on school-specific and citywide class size averages as the law requires on Nov. 15, and also to disagreggate the data by type of instruction used: either in-person learning, remote classes for blended learning students, and remote classes for full-time remote students.   His letter is here and below and here is a Chalkbeat article about this issue.

Disaggregating the data is critical, because as the letter points out, in-person classes have been extremely small for the purpose of social distancing, while some online learning classes have been reported by parents to be as large as 60-100 students or more.  See recent articles in NY PostWSJ and Gothamist about this issue.

Randi Levine at Advocates for Children also testified to the fact that children with IEPs requiring class sizes of no more than 12 students per class have experienced class sizes twice or three times as large.

Averaging across all three types of classes would tend to obscure just how large the online classes really are.  Though we have little research showing how to make remote learning more successful and engaging, some educators have noted that “limiting class sizes may be even more important online than in the physical classroom…On Zoom, for example, it is helpful for a teacher to be able to see all of their students’ faces at once, instead of having to scroll through multiple screens.”

Two prominent researchers have written CONTINUE READING: CM Treyger urges the DOE to report class sizes on Nov. 15 as legally required, disaggregated this year according to the type of class | Class Size Matters